How To Address A Letter? -The Complete Guide


Letters have been a relevant source for long-distance communication dating back to almost 500 BC based on references from multiple research findings. Over the years letters have become less common among the general public. However, in professional settings such as businesses and govt offices, they still dictate hierarchical communications from the middle level to the top level. But why?Let us know how to address a letter,the types of letters,the format of letter writing and address writing in this article.

How To Address A Letter?

How to address a letter?

The following will give you an idea about address a letter.Communicating through letters in a professional setting explains a great deal about the individual before a proper first interaction ever takes place. A simple business letter can show clues about the person’s professional etiquette, awareness of changing surroundings, and proper attention to detail.

Letter writing and its types

There are two styles of letter writing, which are informal Letters, and formal Letters. 

Informal Letter

Such letters neither stick to any set pattern nor adhere to any formalities. They contain personal information similar to a written conversation. Informal letters are often written to friends, colleagues, relatives, etc.

Formal Letter

Formal letter keep the structure strictly professional and addresses the key issues concerned. All type of letters to business or authorities’ falls within this. Which are:

Social Letter

These letters are written on a specific occasion or special event. Examples include a letter of appreciation, invitation letter, letter of condolence, etc. all social letters.

Circular Letter

As the name suggests, such letters circulate the information to numerous people at the same time. It shares some important information like address change, change in management, the retirement of a fellow employee, etc.

Business Letter

Used in business and corporate workplaces, they convey relevant work-related information. Examples include complaints, quotations, orders, info on employees’ work morale, etc. Such letters are always formal and follow an on-point structural pattern. 

Official Letter

It relays information such as rule changes, new regulations, events, procedures, etc. across offices, and departments. They are always written in a formal format and follow the essential structure and decorum.

Format of letter writing  

A good letter is a composition of different elements that dictate the message of the letter, its nature, and its intent. The following are the elements that combine for a coherent format: 


The sender must follow any one of two formats when writing the date on their letter: MM/DD/YY, or DD/MM/YY

Sender’s address

Also known as the return address, it’s one of the crucial components. In simple terms, it is the mailing address of the writer. 

Receiver’s address

It must include the receivers’ designation followed by the name of the organization or their full address, area pin code, and country (if the receiver stays overseas).

The subject

The subject should be brief, a maximum of about 6 to 8 words. It is through the subject that the receiver understands the aim and purpose of the letter.


Salutations should start with ‘Dear’ followed by either Mr/Mrs or miss. If the writer is unaware of the recipient’s identity or even gender then the writer should address them as dear Sir/Dear Madam.


The body should be short, clear, and comprise of logical paragraphs to convey the matter of concern.

The body of the letter is classified into 3 paragraphs:

  • Introduction that states the main point.
  • The middle section: Details the need and importance of letter writing.
  •  Conclusion: conveys a tone of expectation to the receiver.

Complimentary Closure

Compliment closure covers words such as “yours faithfully” or “yours sincerely” showing a positive and sincere tone at the very end of the letter.

Signature Line

The part where the sender signs off the letter with his or her initials or first name. Signatures can also include formal designations as a way to sign off the letter.

Writers must adhere to the following aspects when writing any particular letter:

  • Usage of colloquial words, short forms, and abbreviations should be avoided at all costs.
  • The letter’s message should be precise, clear, and not deviate from the central message of the whole letter.

Writing an informal letter is much simpler in comparison because the writer doesn’t have to abide by all the formalities of a formal letter.

The following is the format to follow for an informal letter

  • Date
  • Salutations with the recipient’s name
  • Body of letter
  • Sincere closure
  • Signature.

Address writing

When addressing, writers must include both their address and the receiver’s address. 

The sender’s address goes in the top upper left-hand corner. It must include the following:

  • Sender’s name.
  • Sender’s address with the street name and zip code.
  • When writing from a place of business, the company name along with the building name, and street number should be written as well.

The receiver’s address goes at the center of the envelope. It must include the following:

  • Receiver’s name
  • Receiver’s full address including the street name, city name, and Zip code.
  • Writing to a place of business involves a similar format aside from the small details. For instance, a comma should be added when writing to a person of certain a designation after their surname followed by their respective designation.

When writing to military personnel, the key differences are:

  • Along with the city name, the diplomatic post office or DPO is to be mentioned for diplomatic locations.
  • In the case of the naval fleet, the respective fleet post office or FPO must be mentioned.
  • In the case of the army and air post locations, respective air/army fleet post offices or APO must be mentioned.
  • Certain writers use the DPO, FPO, or APO location in place of the city name and not with it.

Hope this article give you an idea about how to address a letter.A letter’s desired intent is crucial from a writer’s standpoint. It should be such that the recipient doesn’t feel suspicious, as if the writer is trying to lie to them.Whether addressing the recipient via an informal or formal letter, the recipient should feel connected with the overall content and gain a positive outlook for the reader.

How To Address A Letter? -The Complete Guide

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